Ontario engineering regulator calling on government to improve 'safety gap' in industrial workplaces

Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO), the province’s professional engineering regulator, is concerned over two recent workplace accidents and is calling on the government to improve “a safety gap” in industrial workplaces.

The first incident involved the death of a Brantford, Ont., worker, whose head was caught in a machine on May 14 at the Massilly North America plant. The second incident is the injury of a worker whose legs were trapped under machinery on July 12 at a Canadian Tire warehouse in Brampton, Ont.

On Oct. 25, 2010, Ontario passed legislation to remove section 12(3)(a) of the Professional Engineers Act, which would close a safety gap in industrial workplaces, according to PEO. The repeal of this “industrial exception” was to take effect Sept. 1, 2013, following three years of transition planning and consultations with stakeholders. On June 12, the proclamation date was delayed by the government and a new implementation date has yet to be announced.

As a result, certain acts of engineering on machinery in industrial facilities continue to be allowed to be carried out by non-engineers. Only professional engineers have the experience and training to design and oversee the most complex manufacturing processes, says PEO. Through PEO’s discipline process, professional engineers are held accountable for their actions and conduct to ensure the public interest is served and protected.

“Implementation of the repeal, which the government committed to in law almost three years ago, should assist in reducing the more than 100 worker fatalities that occur in Ontario manufacturing each year,” said PEO president Annette Bergeron.